Town meeting gets heated
Stanstead’s last town meeting was the strangest one that this journalist has ever witnessed. As a matter of fact, it was the strangest one at any level of governance that we have ever witnessed.
At the heart of the matter was the questioning by citizens of Beebe about a project from Granite Central, the granite museum, to have a granite recycling project using a crusher. Since none of the neighbours had any idea what size it was, communication not being the forte of the Coop, rumours went wild about the noise and dust impact of the project that is to be located in an existing plant, which may or may not be eligible as industrial anymore, according to some.
It was a moot point, to say the least.
What we learned was that Granite Central was in deep financial trouble, that they had never paid a penny of rent to the landlord and that the Mayor, well not the mayor but Phillipe Dutil, was president of the organisation since last October! A fact not reflected at the Registre des Entreprises du Québec but who cares about details of that sort.
And that, as president of the organisation, he was not the Mayor but a volunteer.
So the farce began. The mayor called Phillipe Dutil to explain the project all the while chairing the meeting! This newspaper asked the mayor to ask the General Director to give us a legal opinion on the matter. Clearly an impossible task as she convoluted thru an answer that only the best Donald Trump spinner could imagine, even citing that she had consulted with the town’s lawyer, Monty Sylvestre. This newspaper would love to see a written brief from the firm attesting that they agree that a mayor, sitting as such, can also be an individual representing a corporation, whatever its status is, sitting in the same chair.
That one councillor, André-Jean Bédard, is also directly involved in the project, as the supplier of the equipment to be used, and that three others are directly involved in the industry, that a fourth is the son of one of the other involved councillors didn’t seem to bother anyone. Obviously, if all had been excused from the question period there would not have been the necessary quorum to continue.
Except those present who challenged the process only to be told that they would be expelled if they continued to challenge Mr. Dutil’s role. That he was so oddly the opposite of who he is usually, it boggled most minds in the full packed room, chairs having to be taken from the Mayor’s office to the meeting hall.
What followed was madness as anyone sane was challenged by whoever was chairing the event. As democracy goes, this was a low and exceptional moment, a first in our recollection.
Since the equipment will be given by Mr. Bédard’s company and that it is readily available, tests will be conducted soon to either appease or confirm the fears of those living close by.
As the first question period ended, most left, leaving the faithful to remain for a boring meeting where not much of interest was discussed.
Full house at the Stanstead monthly meeting.